Sunday, June 20, 2021

Authorities acknowledge water problem in Kedah villages

SPAN says in general, the water supply is under control except in areas in Baling located at the end of the pipes and those at higher elevations.

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The National Water Service Commission (SPAN) today acknowledged an issue with the water supply in rural Kedah which has seen villagers in several locations forced to rely on alternative sources in order to have enough water to meet their daily needs.

SPAN spokesman Mohd Fazil Ismail said in general, the water supply is under control except in areas in Baling located at the end of the pipes and those at higher elevations.

“When the dry season arrives, there is an increase in areas which face water disruptions,” he said in a statement to MalaysiaNow.

“The problem is that ‘community water’ users are affected during the dry season, where there is less water from nearby hills.”

According to Fazil, there are 1,200 accounts registered among villages in the eastern part of Baling. Of these, 130 face problems of low pressure or water supply disruption.

“It is estimated that up to 700 houses in this area have to use ‘community water’ which is water sourced from nearby hills,” he said.

MalaysiaNow previously reported that villagers in Kampung Bukit Sebelah and Kampung Iboi faced daily disruptions to their water supply, to the point that they had to seek permission to use a nearby hydraulic pump station to supply their homes with running water.

Kampung Bukit Sebelah and several other villages in the vicinity receive their water supply from a source known as Pond R12, which in turn receives its supply from the Baling Lama and Baling Baru water treatment plants.

Fazil said the long-term plan is to upgrade the Sungai Limau water treatment plant, which would include the installation of a dedicated pipeline to pump water to ponds with inadequate supply.

“According to the plan, the project will start in 2021 and is expected to be completed in 2023,” he said.

SPAN along with the environment and water ministry suggested that villagers facing water supply disruptions make use of the Malaysian Water Endowment Fund or Wakaf Air to ease their troubles.

Fazil said the fund could be used to upgrade the makeshift pipelines set up by the villagers to carry water to their homes.

“The endowment has already been used to tackle water disruptions in Johor, Perak, Negeri Sembilan, Pahang and Selangor.

“It has sufficient funds to assist the people of Baling, Kedah, in upgrading their water pipes,” he said, adding that SPAN had taken notice of their situation and would raise the matter with Wakaf Air.

Wakaf Air was launched on Dec 17 last year as an alternative source of financing. As of March 31, the endowment had received RM2.4 million in donations.

It is an initiative of the environment and water ministry, in collaboration with Yayasan Waqaf Malaysia.

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